THE HUNGER GAMES
In this gripping young adult novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present, the nation of Panem consistsof a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying Districts, inthe ruins of the area once known as North America. In this
stratiﬁed society where the Capitol controls all resources,
16-year-old Katniss and her friend Gale forage for foodin the woods surrounding their impoverished District. The
main support for both their families, Katniss and Gale are
apprehensive about the approaching annual Reaping, whentwo “tributes” between the ages of 12 and 18 will be chosen
by lottery from each of the 12 districts to compete inThe Hunger Games, a survival contest on live TV in which teenagers ﬁght to the death. When her beloved younger sister Prim is chosen as oneof the “tributes,” Katniss volunteers to go in her sister’splace.
Her fellow tribute from District 12 is Peeta, a boy with whom
she soon develops a complicated relationship. After traveling to the Capitol and undergoing elaborate training andpreparation, Katniss and Peeta are launched into the Game.
In the terrifying events that follow, Katniss must marshal allher skills to stay alive and all her emotions to remain a caringhuman being in the face of the stark brutality of the Games.
“It’s hard to choose one element that inspired
The Hunger Games,
” says Suzanne Collins. “Probably the ﬁrstseeds were planted when, as an eight-year-old with a mythology obsession, I read the story of Theseus. Themyth told how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidensto Crete where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur. Even as a thirdgrader, I could appreciate the ruthlessness of this message. ‘Mess with us and we’ll do something worse thankill you. We’ll kill your children.’“Other early inﬂuences would have to include watching too many gladiator movies, which dramatized theRomans’ ﬂair for turning executions into popular entertainment; my military specialist dad who took us tobattleﬁelds for family vacations; and touring with a sword ﬁghting company in high school. But it wasn’t untilthe much more recent experience of channel surﬁng between reality TV programming and actual war coveragethat the story for this series came to me.”